January 8th, 2009
08:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Palin takes digs at Fey, Couric

Palin had tough words for Fey and Couric.
Palin had tough words for Fey and Couric.

(CNN) - Sarah Palin is credited with making Tina Fey a world-wide star and boosting Katie Couric's ratings at CBS.

But in a recent interview with conservative John Ziegler, Palin said both "exploited" her twelve-week candidacy - a fact, she said, that "says a great deal about our society.”

Fey's widely-applauded portrayal of the Alaska governor boosted SNL's ratings, while Couric’s audience grew after a series of interviews during which Palin now-famously faltered.

“I did see that Tina Fey was named entertainer of the year and Katie Couric’s ratings have risen," Palin said in the interview. "I know that a lot of people are capitalizing on, oh I don’t know, perhaps some exploiting that was done via me, my family, my administration - that’s a little bit perplexing, but it also says a great deal about our society.”

The Alaska governor was particularly upset with an SNL skit during which Fey's version of Palin said, "I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers."

The line was a clear reference to Palin's 18-year-old daughter Bristol and her fiancé Levi Johnston. The two announced shortly before the GOP convention that they were expecting a baby and had plans to marry.

"The mama grizzly rises up in me, hearing things like that," she said of a skit. "Here again, cool, fine come attack me. But when you make a suggestion like that that attacks a kid, it kills me."

In the wide-ranging interview, Palin also faulted the McCain campaign for agreeing to a series of sit-downs with Couric after the first one appeared to go so poorly.

FULL POST


Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
January 8th, 2009
08:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Amtrak adds trains on Inauguration Day; tickets still available

Amtrak is adding more service to deal with expected inauguration crowds.
Amtrak is adding more service to deal with expected inauguration crowds.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Automobile traffic will be diverted; bridges closed. But from Amtrak, there's a bit of good news about Inauguration Day travel.

Amtrak says that it has increased the number - and length - of trains running to Washington on January 20, and that tickets are still available.

But they're going quick.

FULL POST


Filed under: Inauguration
January 8th, 2009
07:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama picks defense lobbyist as deputy defense secretary

President-elect Obama's campaign speeches often mentioned reducing the influence of lobbyists and special interests on the federal government.
President-elect Obama's campaign speeches often mentioned reducing the influence of lobbyists and special interests on the federal government.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening the influence of lobbyists in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country's biggest defense contractors to be his deputy secretary of defense.

Obama's transition office announced that William Lynn, an undersecretary of defense in President Bill Clinton's second term, is nominated to Defense Secretary Robert Gates' deputy.

Lynn is currently a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts and is the maker of the Army's Patriot Missile system and the Tomahawk missile used by the Navy. The company is also developing a global positioning satellite communication system with the Air Force.

As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.

Obama's transition office acknowledged that appointing a lobbyist did not, on the face of it, seem in line with the president-elect's ethics stance but that Lynn's qualifications and the recommendations that came from both Republicans and Democrats made him the top candidate.

"Because Mr. Lynn came so highly recommended from experts across the political spectrum, the president-elect felt it was critical that he fill this position," said Obama transition spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Vietor said Lynn and the transition team would create guidelines that would fit the ethics standards of the new administration.

"We are aware that Mr. Lynn lobbied for Raytheon and are working with Mr. Lynn to craft a role for him that is consistent with the president-elect's high standards while balancing the need to fill this critical national security position," Vietor said.

FULL POST


Filed under: Obama transition • Pentagon
January 8th, 2009
07:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Dems give Obama aides 'barrage of criticism' on stimulus plan

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is concerned about some aspects of President-elect Obama's economic stimulus plan.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin is concerned about some aspects of President-elect Obama's economic stimulus plan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Top Obama aides Larry Summers and David Axelrod heard a barrage of criticism late Thursday about the stimulus plan at a closed-door meeting for all Democratic senators, according to several participants who spoke afterwards.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said he was “concerned about the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this.” In particular, he dismissed the tax breaks for individuals as a return to “trickle down” economics that won’t work.

Harkin said the Obama aides were “non-committal” about whether they would change their plan.

FULL POST


Filed under: stimulus plan
January 8th, 2009
07:19 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama to officially announce Panetta, Blair nominations Friday

Obama is expected to nominate Panetta as CIA director Friday.
Obama is expected to nominate Panetta as CIA director Friday.

(CNN) – Two officials close to the transition confirm to CNN that on Friday morning the President-elect will announce Leon Panetta as CIA Director and Dennis Blair as Director of National Intelligence. The officials also say that John Brennan will be named Friday as White House homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

While Pannetta and Blair will be at the event in Washington, Brennan will be announced at the same time but will not be attending the event, according to the officials.

The officials added that Brennan will be tasked with leading a top-to-bottom review of whether the Homeland Security Council within the White House, created after 9/11, should be folded into the National Security Council or remain a separate entity.

Transition officials are eager to push back on a report suggesting that the homeland security adviser post might be downgraded in the Obama administration, noting that Brennan will also carry the title of assistant to the president, a sign that he will have direct access to the Oval Office.


Filed under: Obama transition
January 8th, 2009
06:53 PM ET
5 years ago

Panel recommends impeaching Blagojevich

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may face federal corruption charges.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may face federal corruption charges.

(CNN) – An Illinois legislative committee Thursday unanimously recommended impeaching embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested last month after federal prosecutors alleged, among other things, that he had tried to sell the Senate seat that President-elect Barack Obama has vacated.

The full state House of Representatives will consider the recommendation Friday.

The 21-member committee looked into Blagojevich's actions on a number of
issues beyond the federal allegations.

Updated 7 p.m.

Full story


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
January 8th, 2009
06:28 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama to meet with Mexican president

(CNN) - President-elect Obama will meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Washington on Monday, the Obama transition team said Thursday.


Filed under: Obama transition
January 8th, 2009
05:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Burris denies quid pro quo for Senate appointment

Roland Burris says his selection for the Senate had nothing to do with money or any pay-to-play scheme.
Roland Burris says his selection for the Senate had nothing to do with money or any pay-to-play scheme.

(CNN) - Roland Burris on Thursday denied any quid pro quo with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his appointment to the U.S. Senate during testimony before a panel weighing whether to impeach Blajojevich.

Burris also told lawmakers he had no conversations with Blagojevich about his desire to step into the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

The former state attorney general appeared before an impeachment committee of state legislators in Springfield, Illinois, to explain his ties to that state's tainted governor.

Illinois Republicans want to know whether Burris, a Democrat, was "paying to play." GOP lawmakers point to state records showing that Burris and his lobbying firm contributed more than $20,000 to the governor's political campaigns.

The question is reverberating back to Washington, where Democratic leaders have been blocking Burris from taking the Senate seat. They say his appointment is tainted because it was made by Blagojevich, who was arrested last month and accused of trying to sell the seat for money and influence.

Blagojevich has not been indicted and remains governor. He and Burris say the appointment is legal.

Full story


Filed under: Rod Blagojevich • Roland Burris
January 8th, 2009
05:17 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama formally announces Kaine as DNC chair

President-elect Obama announced Thursday that he's chosen his friend and supporter Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to run the DNC.
President-elect Obama announced Thursday that he's chosen his friend and supporter Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to run the DNC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama formally announced Thursday that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, one of the president-elect’s closest allies who was once on the short list to become his running mate, will run the Democratic National Committee.

Watch: Obama announces Kaine as new head of DNC

Appearing with Kaine at DNC headquarters in Washington, Obama said the party must build on his campaign’s success by reaching out to Americans in every state and recruiting new candidates that share his governing philosophy.

“We must build a movement for change that can endure beyond a single election,” Obama said.

The man for that job, he said, is Kaine. Obama called the Virginia governor a progressive problem-solver who also understands that “politics is tough.”

FULL POST


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • DNC • Tim Kaine
January 8th, 2009
05:00 PM ET
5 years ago

House to vote on resolution supporting Israel

Smoke rises in Gaza City after an Israeli airstrike Thursday.
Smoke rises in Gaza City after an Israeli airstrike Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Friday on a resolution "recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza," Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday.

Introduced by Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner, the nonbinding vote would come on the 14th day of an air and ground assault on the Palestinian territory. Israel says it is aimed at halting the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas militants.

The resolution's language condemns Hamas, which Israel and the United States consider a terrorist organization, for the rocket attacks and "for deliberately embedding its fighters, leaders and weapons in private homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and otherwise using Palestinian civilians as human shields."

Full story


Filed under: House • Israel
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